To practice aikido you don't need much at the start. The beginning Aikidoka is already ready for his first lessons with a pair of slippers and nice loose clothing. After a few introductory lessons, if the decision has been taken to continue with Aikido, the step to an aikido-suit is a good move.
Keikogi or Gi
Most practitioners train in a white judo or karate suit. A judo suit is a cotton suit of which the jacket is of a thicker quality. The fabric of a karate suit is of a thinner quality and can be pleasant in the summer. More often practitioners wear a judo suit, but the choice is free. However, nowadays there are also aikido suits available. In general, aikidogi are made of a loosely woven but thicker fabric, and the seams and edges are heavily reinforce. Many aikido techniques involve grabbing the lapel of the gi in order to control the body; you don't want that lapel to rip off in your hand and send your partner on an unplanned ballistic trajectory. Aikido gi jackets are longer and the sleeves are a bit shorter.
The size of the suit is a measure of your length, such as 160, 170 or 180. To determine your size, you take your own length and round it off to the upper ten (ex. 1.65m is 170). When buying a new suit, add 10 cm for shrinkage.
Difference in level will only be expressed in Aikido by means of a white or a black belt, there are no color belts (although for children color bands are given). The black belt is worn from the 1st dan (shodan), until then the white belt is worn (kyugrades).
The training takes place on judo mats and is barefoot. However slippers are required to walk from the locker room to the mat. The slippers are put at the edge of the mat.
A hakama is a traditional Japanese garment. The hakama is perhaps best known in the image as it was worn by the Samurai: culottes which were tied at the waist, and that come down to the ankles. On the side there can be a sword tucked in the belt and a horse can be ridden wide-legged while the legs are covered. In several Japanese martial arts a hakama is worn: in kyudo, kendo, iaido, jodo as well as in aikido. In this way the relationship with earlier traditions is kept alive.
In aikido the hakama is worn over the keikogi. The hakama is generaly worn after achieving 3rd kyu. Until you achieve this degree only the keikogi is worn with a white band around it. The hakama is usually black or dark blue, and may be made of different materials (polyester, cotton). There are also hakama that are painted with traditional indigo (blue).
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To practice aikido you don't need much at the start. The beginning Aikidoka is already ready for his first lessons with a pair of slippers and nice loose clothing. After a few introductory lessons, if the decision has been taken to continue with Aikido, the step to an aikido-suit is a good...
In addition to unarmed practice, there is also weapons training.
As with any sport, aikido also has agreements with regard to dealing with each other and behavior in the dojo. Below you will find some general guidelines.
Some words, expressions, courtesies, etc. that are frequently used during training and seminars.
Shimizu Sensei and Son
Short biography of Kenji Shimizu and interview with his son and dojo chief Kenta Shimizu.